Having the right level of attic insulation in your house is definitely one of the most important considerations in keeping your energy costs low. Attic insulation protects from the cold in the winter, and also keeps the cool in during the hot summer months. What considerations factor in towards making your attic a well insulated place?
Examine first the type of attic insulation you have. Many older houses have what is referred to as batt insulation. That's the kind that comes in large rolls, and is typically colored pink or yellow. The insulation is spread out in the attic, generally between the wooden beams.
The other kind of insulation is called blow-in insulation. Blow-in insulation is typically installed by professional contractors, as they have the correct equipment to do the work. Small bits of insulation are mechanically wind blown into the attic, creating the blanket across the attic floor. You will generally find this kind of insulation in new houses.
There are of course good and bad with either batt insulation or blow-in insulation. Batt insulation, when installed properly provides an equal R-Factor through the attic. The R-factor is the measurement of the overall performance of the insulation, and is also called the thermal performance. It measures the resistance of the flow of heat. Batt attic insulation that is properly installed will give you a uniform R-Factor through the entire attic.
Alternatively, blow-in insulation is propelled into the attic with a machine. While it is very difficult to blow it in uniformly through the whole attic, the result is a variable R-factor in that space. As long as the installation is done thoroughly, and the necessary minimum number of inches sits on the flooring of the attic, the insulation will do the trick. This makes the issue of a non-uniform R-factor a non-factor overall.
The money involved with batt and blow-in insulation is of course another factor to consider. Usually batt insulation costs less to buy, but your time is something to consider as well. Lots of time is needed to correctly add insulation, or replace the existing insulation. When adding attic insulation, you of course have to have the right equipment, including proper clothes, lots of time, and plenty of patience.
Alternatively, you can always contract the job out for a little more money, and have a blow-in insulation job completed in just a few hours without as much trouble.
Stay tuned as next I will cover more on the differences between batt and blow in attic insulation, and consider other energy saving tips for your attic.